RETIRED French footballer Lilian Thuram has blasted Brazilian soccer legend Pele for not doing more to tackle racism.
The World Cup-winning defender, who made 142 appearances for France between 1994 and 2008, told Brazilian TV station Sportv that Pele was 'selfish' not to use his fame to fight prejudice.
Thuram, who also played for Parma, Juventus and Barcelona, said: "The truth is that Pele never positioned himself, he never took a stand on the problem of racism in Brazil,.
“He is someone who could have pushed things forward.
"I do not know Pele, but I think it's necessary to overcome a certain selfishness.
“And it may be that Pele does not have that greatness of the soul, because, in fact, if you see the image he has in the world, I think he should have done more."
The 46-year-old added: “I remain convinced that in the end of his life, it's something he'll regret.”
Thuram launched an anti-racism education foundation in 2008 and has written several books on the subject.
Pele, 77, has not responded to Thuram's comments.
It is not the first time the former player, considered the greatest who ever lived, has been criticised for being too close to the establishment - including during the brutal military dictatorship that ruled the country from 1964 to 1985.
Pele, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, also raised eyebrows in a 2015 interview when he said he feels racist incidents in football are blown out of proportion.